Calypso Chapter

Calypso Chapter serves Southwest Montana including the greater Dillon - Butte - Deerlodge areas. For more information, contact:

Catherine Cain

P.O. Box 320046
Glen MT 59732
(406) 498-6198(406) 498-6198 


Sheila Thompson
909 Kohrs
Deer Lodge MT 59722
(406) 846-1855(406) 846-1855 


Activities and Trips: 

Sunday, 5/18 – Ringing Rocks. Join trip leader Mike Garverich on this easy exploration of a very interesting area with "ringing rocks." Bring a hardwood stick to play a tune! A high clearance car is recommended. The trip will take about four hours. The route traverses Tertiary sediments, where we will stop to look at the vegetation, then continues through dry Doug Fir groves to the Ringing Rocks. An optional continuation to the west and north across the drainage to look at Spire rocks Flat pediment will require a four-wheel drive vehicle. Meet at the I-90 Pipestone Exit, north side. Travel east on the frontage road to a gravel road that turns north to the ringing Rocks Road. Roads may be closed due to weather, so check with the trip leader the night before. Info and to sign up: Mike at (406) 587-6830(406) 587-6830 .

Sunday, 6/8 – Public Tour of Rochester Basin Flora. Come explore this nearby, but little-known, wildflower area with leaders Mike Garverich, NRCS, Jessie Salix, USFS, and Catherine Cain, MNPS. Rochester Basin is a culturally important mining area with an interesting flora typical of dry high steppe created by the rain shadow of the Pioneer Mountains to the west. You will see mostly sagebrush steppe with some riparian areas and mountain mahogany communities. As for geology, enjoy Tertiary sediments, pediments on metamorphic rocks, and limestones. It will be an adventure! This field trip is all-day and requires high-clearance vehicles. Meet at the Melrose exit off I-15 in the parking lot across from the Melrose Bar. There will be an opportunity to carpool. This trip is weather dependent due to the clay conditions and streams that appear with rainfall. It may be rescheduled or cancelled, so call or email the night before. There are no restroom facilities en route, so bring a shovel or trowel for saste deposit if needed. Also bnring layerd clothing, rain gear, lunch, water, snacks, and a field guide if you have one. No prior plant knowledge is necessary; leaders are very helpful. Info and to sign up: Catherine at (406) 498-6198(406) 498-6198 ; or email.

Saturday, 6/14 – Tendoys or Henneberry Ridge. Time TBA. These are great limestone habitats with interesting plants. The final destination choice will depend upon snow melt and weather forecast. Leader Eve Wills will let registered participants know a week in advance the details of where to meet. This is a strenuous, all-day hike in country north of Clark Canyon reservoir, requiring layered clothing/rainwear, water, a lunch, and snacks. It will be a wonderful opportunity to see very special plants. Info and to sign up, contact Eve by email .

Sunday, 6/22 – What is Possible: A Brower's Garden Tour at Pipestone – 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Karen Brower leads tours of the most splendid garden in our Chapter, which includes natives and non-natives – all survivors in our harsh climate. Now you, too, can have the garden of your dreams! Check it out and benefit from what Karen has learned and will share. Bring a lunch and eat in the garden. Info: Karen at (406) 409-8872(406) 409-8872  or by email .

Saturday, 8/2 – Goat Flats Wildflower Heaven. 9:30 a.m. This is a moderately difficult, seven mile round trip with switchbacks and some altitde gain. Get in shape and go for it! We're headed for an alpine jewel – meadows with an incredible variety of wildflowwers you won't see at the lower elevations – and well worth the effort. You can camp overnight at the meadows if you are backpacking. Bring layered clothing/rain gear, water, lunch, and snacks for a full-day outing. Meet at Storm lake, or at the Montana Tech parking lot below the greenhouse at 8:00 a.m. for carpooling. If coming from Anaconda, make a left turn at the Storm Lake sign on Hwy 1. Follow the road for nine miles; bear left at all forks in the road. It is slow going, so give youself lots of time to get to the trailhead by 9:30. The last part of the road is rough and best suited to high-clearance vehicles. If you love wildflowers, this should be on your bucket list! Invo and to RSVP: Sherry Vogel (406) 560-6184 or by email

In the summer of 2013, the Calypso Chapter organized a Botany Blitz in the Lemhi Pass area. Here is a link to the report of the results of this undertaking.  

Information on scenic/botanically interesting drives in Southwest Montana...

Vipond Park Driving Loop

Click here for the Vipond Park plant list.

There are several special interest and plant areas on this loop. One can approach Vipond Park from the north turning at the Wise River exit and turning south on the Quartz Hill road just past Dewey. From the south, one can go to Melrose, across the tracks and river and head up Trapper Creek road. Going from this approach, one will first pass the old town of Glendale. Not much is left. The next stop is the charcoal kilns, which are being restored. Next, head up the switchbacks to Vipond Park. Look for Penstemon lemhiensis on the road cuts on the switchbacks. There is a good viewpoint to the top of the switchback to observe the glacial terrain of Canyon Creek.

Once on top, you are in Vipond Park. Pending times, one can observe fields of camas, Camassia quamash, along with numerous wet forbs; Claytonia lanceolata, Pedicularis groenlandica and more.

 Coming down from Vipond Park, look for pygmy bitterroots and fields of pasque flowers. There are abundant Calypso orchids blooming about 3.4 miles from the end of Quartz Hill road. Coming from the top, start looking in the Douglas fir zone, just after the subalpine fir zone. Look off the road by the rotten logs. They are in clumps of 30 to +40 plants. Mid to late June is ideal.

In lower elevations there is plenty to see; townsendia, bluebells, penstemons, phlox, erigerons, senecios and more. Glacier lilies are the early bloomers.

Flora changes from week to week. For the best road information, obtain a Forest Service travel plan and contact the Dillon Ranger Office at 683-3900 or the Wise River Ranger Office at 832-3178.



Gravelly Mountain Tour

Click here for the Gravelly Mountain Tour plant list.
This area is south of Ennis. Several loops can be made to access the subalpine meadows. High elevations and open meadows dominate the area. July through August are the best flora viewing months. Fields of Polygonum bistortoides, Hymenoxys grandiflora and Wyethia are abundant. A plant list is available. Rare pink Agoseris lackschewitzii and Thalictrum alpinum can be found. In early to mid July, the Forest Service leads a public tour of the area. To obtain a Forest map and more information contact the Madison Ranger District Office at 406-682-4253406-682-4253 .